Which of the proposed options to return to action would be best for the LA Clippers?
The LA Clippers continue to prepare for the eventual return of the 2019-20 NBA season. While the league has not yet made their decision on what exactly the rest of the season will look like, they have included teams in the discussion to allow each franchise to voice their preferences.
Options included in a survey given to team General Managers included skipping directly to the playoffs, holding some sort of regular season before moving into the playoffs, holding a play-in style tournament for certain playoff spots, and even a World Cup-style group play option. Playoff scenarios have been discussed which would reseed the 16 qualifying teams regardless of their conference affiliations.
But which option would be best for the LA Clippers?
Perhaps the least beneficial option for the Clippers would be the World Cup-style group play situation. This option would require the team to be placed into a group with four other teams, and play eight games to qualify for the “second round” of the playoffs. Even though the Clippers would earn one of the top four seeds, and likely would not be placed in a group with the Lakers, Bucks, or Raptors, the variance created in this option would be less than ideal for the team.
Reseeding the playoff teams without consideration of conference affiliation would also create a more difficult path to the playoffs for the Clippers. Currently, the team would sit in the fourth seed and be matched up against the Dallas Mavericks in the first round of the playoffs. Things would get more difficult in round two, where they would have to face the winner of the Boston Celtics (5) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (12) series. Both teams provide difficult and interesting matchups for the Clippers.
This scenario would also require the Clippers to meet up with the league-best Milwaukee Bucks in a semi-final round, a team they would avoid until the NBA Finals in a typical playoff format. It could also create a potential dream NBA Finals matchup against in-house rivals the Los Angles Lakers
The best-case scenario for a return to action for the Clippers also happens to be the most boring route. A standard, 16-team playoffs with eight teams representing each conference would have the Clippers open up the playoffs against the Dallas Mavericks, not have to face the Lakers until the conference finals, and avoid the Bucks until the NBA Finals.
It might not be exciting or new but it remains the Clippers’ best path to their first NBA title.